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Dan Dreiberg

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Daniel Dreiberg (1945 - ), a.k.a. Nite Owl II relied more upon technical wizardry and tools than toughness, which set him apart from his fellow costumed adventurers. Still, he has demonstrated more than adequate skills when defending himself. All of his gadgets and costumes are based on an owl theme. He uses an owl-shaped flying vehicle nicknamed the "Owlship" or "Archie" (after Archimedes, Merlin's pet owl in The Sword in the Stone), equipped with a variety of offensive and defensive devices.


Dan was born in 1945. His abusive father was a banker while Dan was an introvert fascinated with electronics, inventions, and his hero Nite Owl of the Minutemen. In 1962, during one of Nite Owl's stunts in Sparky's Garage, Dan rigged his Owl Car with a listening device of his own invention, and followed him all the way to the Owl Cave.[1]

Having left him a note, they met at Lincolrn Park where Dan offered Mason to become his sidekick, offering his help and cooperation. His initial reaction was nonchallant. When Dan returned home, he saw his father abusing once more his mother. Soon after he had a heart attack, but neither of them cared to call the hospital in time.[1]

His father left him a large inheritance, which he used to design and build his crime-fighting gear. When Mason retired, Dan wrote to Mason, asking if he could carry on his name. Upon looking at his gear, Mason was too impressed to refuse him, and so Dreiberg became Nite Owl II in 1962. From then on, the two men became friends, and met every Saturday night.

In 1965, Nite Owl teamed up with fellow costumed adventurer Rorschach to take on organized crime. Together they fought villains such as Jimmy the Gimmick and the Twilight Lady, who was a sexual interest for Dreiberg.

Nite Owl and The Comedian

With the Comedian

Later on they were invited to join the Crimebusters. During the Keene riots, he was patrolling with The Comedian on Archie and attempted to pacify the rioters, an action rendered moot when the notoriously short-tempered Comedian opened fire.

Having already come to believe that his expensive activities were accomplishing little, Dreiberg retired after the passing of the Keene Act on August 3, 1977, although in 1985 (when the story takes place) he seems to regret his decision. Rorschach would later say regarding his retirement, "No staying power."

When not fighting crime, Dreiberg mastered in aeronautics and zoology at Harvard University, contributing scholarly articles to ornithological journals after his retirement in 1977.

Events of Watchmen

Dreiberg was the first of the "masks" that Rorschach warned after the death of Edward Blake. The two shared a tense reunion, with Rorschach chastising him for his decision to retire, and Dreiberg criticizing Rorschach's insistence on continuing his vigilante activities. Shortly thereafter he met with Laurie Juspeczyk, the second Silk Spectre, at a coffee shop and the two reminisced about their times as costumed adventurers.

The Comedian's funeral

At the Comedian's funeral

Dr. Manhattan goes into self-imposed exile on Mars after Laurie leaves him and he is tricked into believing he was harming the people he loved. Simultaneously, an attempt is made on the life of Adrian Veidt, and Dreiberg takes in Laurie as a precaution. The two explore their feelings for each other and attempt to make love. However, Dan experiences a moment of impotency and they are unable to. During her stay, they are made aware of the capture of Rorschach by authorities, as he is charged with the murder of Moloch. After a nightmare, Dreiberg goes to his lab, where he expresses how helpless he feels in the face of impending nuclear war. He and Laurie decide to take up arms once again and experience that sense of power they had before. Donning their outfits, they take the Owlship and patrol New York City once again, in defiance of the Keene Act. Discovering a fire at a tenement, they come to the rescue and evacuate everybody from the burning building safely. Being in his Nite Owl persona again revives Dan's spirit, and he and Laurie are able to make love in the Owlship above the city.

Nite Owl and Silk Spectre (movie) jailbreak

Jailbreak with Silk Spectre

Deciding the time had come to act rather then stand by, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre break Rorschach out of Sing Sing. Afterward, as Laurie is taken to Mars by Manhattan, Dreiberg and Rorschach explore the New York underworld looking for clues on whatever plot is taking place. They discover that the prison break led to a series of anti-superhero riots, including the murder of Dreiberg's predecessor and mentor as Nite Owl, Hollis Mason. Dreiberg swears vengeance, assaulting one of the men responsible with such fury that Rorscharch, known for his brutality in dispatching criminals, has to restrain him. During their interrogations, they determine that their leads point to none other then their former comrade Ozymandias. The two head to Karnak, Veidt's fortress in Antarctica, in the Owlship.

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In arctic gear

In Antarctica, Veidt reveals his plan to send a genetically-engineered "alien" to New York City, knowing it will kill millions of people. His hope is that it will be perceived as an extraterrestrial threat forcing the nations of Earth to end their Cold War and work together. Although Dreiberg and Rorschach try to stop him, he reveals that his plan is already in motion, well-ahead of their arrival. They are forced to watch the devastation and look on as the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union end their standoff and agree to work together to end the "alien" threat.

After a brief fight, joined by Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre, most of the masks (except Rorschach) agree with Veidt that, although terrible, the preceding events are preferable to a nuclear holocaust. Rorschach tries to leave to tell the world of the plan, but is intercepted by Manhattan, who reluctantly kills him. Veidt agrees to give Dreiberg and Laurie protection at his fortress. After coming in from killing Rorschach, Osterman sees Dreiberg and Laurie laying together on a fur rug, naked. He smiles, shares a brief conversation with Veidt, and departs for parts unknown.

In the final act, Dreiberg and Laurie have taken on a new identity, Sam and Sandra Hollis, since they are assumed to have been killed in the "alien" attack. They pay a visit to Laurie's mother, Sally Jupiter, where mother and daughter make amends for years of animosity.


Rorschach and Nite Owl

Talking about the old days with Rorschach

Like Hollis Mason before him, Dan Dreiberg was friendly, honest, and affable. Also like Mason, he lacked psychological issues like the ones that tainted many of his colleagues. Dreiberg appears to have old-fashioned tastes in music, preferring 1930-1940s jazz to modern pop music.In addition to being a skilled mechanic, Dreiberg is shown to be interested in mythology, birds and the fantasy genre, having named his airship "Archie" in tribute to Archimedes from the movie "The Sword in the Stone".

There is a vague suggestion that Dreiberg may have been sexually inexperienced before he became involved with Laurie Juspeczyk. Though his use of the word "impotent" during a chapter has also led to the hypothesis he may have suffered from impotency.


Watchmen Portraits - Nite Owl II


Patrick Wilson portrays the second Nite Owl, Dan Dreiberg, in the film.[2] Although not a comics fan, Wilson enjoyed Watchmen upon reading it and opted to gain weight for the part, rather than wear a fat-suit. Stephen McHattie portrays the elder Nite Owl, Hollis Mason. John Cusack, who is an admitted fan of the graphic novel, expressed great interest in playing the role.[3]

Much like Batman, Dan's cape is like a wing suit, parachute or hang gliding gear, making his falls slow and allowing him to glide through the air. The cape expands and flies like a kite, but it does not make the appearance of wings, as Batman's does.

Despite his age and his weight, Daniel is portrayed with superhuman strength and fighting abilities, allowing him to overpower men and send people flying through air with great ease. His punches can easily break bones and joints, with him being able to cripple a man with a single punch to the leg and completely destroying another man's elbow and the joints inside of it, with the bones in the arm piercing the flesh. He could jump several feet into the air with a light skip, allowing him to knee a man in the face while in mid air and knock him several feet. His strength was immune to the momentum of his opponents, as his punches causes attacking opponents to flip into the air or be knocked to the ground instantly. Only Laurie Juspeczyk and Edward Blake had his type of strength and fighting abilities, while Ozymandias far exceeded all three of them.

In the film, Nite Owl is portrayed less as a worn out vigilante, and appears somewhat more physically fit than he was in the comics. Additionally, some of his scenes in the film were altered than they were originally from the comic, such as him being the one to tell Veidt of the Comedian's death and warn him of the threat posed by the "mask killer" instead of Rorschach. Another difference is that Dreiberg's and Juspeczyk's identities were never revealed; thus, they never adopted the names Sam and Sandra Hollis during the film's epilogue. The biggest difference in the film, however, is that during the climax, Dreiberg isn't as accepting of Veidt's plan as he was originally in the comics, and when Rorschach leaves, Dreiberg follows him to the entrance of Veidt's fortress in an attempt to persuade the latter to at least remain silent, before witnessing Rorschach's death by Osterman's hand, prompting Dreiberg to scream in agony and disbelief. Dreiberg runs back inside Veidt's fortress just as Osterman departs, and proceeds to attack Veidt in a fit of rage. When Veidt asserts that his actions were justified as he has saved mankind from nuclear war, Dreiberg argues that Veidt hasn't idealized mankind, but has deformed and mutilated it instead, declaring that as Veidt's legacy, and "the real practical joke", before choosing to depart with Laurie in Archie, leaving Veidt to ponder on his actions alone.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1
  2. [1]
  3. MTV "John Cusack Calls Hilary Duff 'A Revelation'; Has His Eye On Watchmen" by Shawn Adler 2007-06-13



Nit Owl is a main character in Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and published by DC Comics. He is a modified version of the various Blue Beetle characters created for Fox Feature Syndicate and later sold to Charlton Comics. Coincidentally, he also bears a similar costumed appearance to Batman.

Watchmen Heroes
Captain MetropolisHooded JusticeNite Owl IThe ComedianSilk Spectre IDollar BillMothmanSilhouette
Captain MetropolisDoctor ManhattanRorschachThe ComedianOzymandiasNite Owl IISilk Spectre II

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